Three-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, New York Times best-selling poet and critically acclaimed actress Jill Scott got to fulfill a dream when she guest starred on Episode 8 of the fifth and final season of the sci-fi drama series Fringe. As a huge fan of the show, which concludes with a special two-hour series finale on January 18th, she was excited to be a part of the story and work with the cast.
During this interview to promote her appearance on the show, Jill Scott talked about why she asked for a role, what it meant to her to be a part of the final season, the hopes and expectations she had for her character, getting to work with series star Anna Torv, why she thinks the show has been such a fan favorite, her favorite episodes, and how she would also love to do a guest spot on Supernatural. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
SCOTT: Her name is Simone, and she’s a quiet warrior. She’s an oracle of someone who can foresee the future. There is an integral part of Olivia’s quest, and Simone has direct knowledge of that, although I won’t say what knowledge. She has an intuition about how to help her on her quest.
How did you end up getting the role?
SCOTT: Well, I asked for it. Fringe is one of my favorite television shows, from its inception. I absolutely love all of the science fiction of it, the mystery of it, and the science in it. The characters are wonderful and so rich. Walter, of course, is my absolute favorite. I had met with pretty much every television broadcast company in America. I kept saying, “These are the kinds of shows that I want to be involved in.” I just put the word out there and asked for it. I believe in saying things out loud, and I did with Fringe.
Because you are such a huge fan of the show, what does it mean to you to be a part of the final season?
SCOTT: I wish it wasn’t the final season. I’m really upset about that. It means a lot to me, just simply because putting those kinds of requests into the universe and having it come back to you is another confirmation, personally. The writing on the show is splendid. The vocabulary is just delicious. I’ve always enjoyed shows like The X-Files, where you’re on the edge of your seat and you’re so invested in these characters. Having grown up watching Star Trek and reading Edgar Allen Poe, and enjoying the darker side of things, as well as the light, this was a dream come true. I wish I had more powers. To be able to see into the future is pretty incredible, or to have an intuition about things like that is pretty awesome.
SCOTT: I had a lot of wild expectations and hopes for my character. When I found out who she really was, based on my conversations with the director, I had to adjust her quickly. She is a hard worker and a leader and lives pretty much in a state of exhaustion. Just as a human being, the cold was a sincere challenge.
What was it like to work with Anna Torv?
SCOTT: She’s exactly what I thought she was. The character is smart and lovely and strong, and it honestly bugged me out because this is a show that I genuinely enjoy and there’s Olivia being all of those things, right in front of my face. I let those things go because it’s time to work, but I was thoroughly geeked. My inner child was jumping up and down. It was a pretty incredible moment.
Being a fan of the show, what were you most excited to see, once you got to the set?
SCOTT: Well, I never have had to use any kind of futuristic products or apprati. All of a sudden, there’s this screen that I have to know how to use, that’s a 3D scanner. That was really, really cool.
What do you think it is about Fringe that really continues to make it such a fan favorite show?
SCOTT: I think it’s the writing. I think it’s how intelligent and how realistic everything is without looking overly manufactured. I think human beings will always still really enjoy using our imaginations, and Fringe allows you to do that. It’s slightly scary and believable. There just might be an alternate universe. There just might be people on the other side that are like us, living a different life. The thought of that is pretty intriguing – that there are that people who can stop time and change their bodies and morph into someone else. And the conspiracy theories in it all, just taps into our curiosity and makes us wonder and ponder. That’s the gist of the show, and it’s slightly scary. There are moments where I definitely grab the pillow or the blanket and gasp for breath.
Can you make any comparison between Fringe and No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, as far as both of them being such quality shows with amazing writing and terrific characters?
SCOTT: Yes, to a certain degree. All you ever really want is a great character and great writing. As an actor, that’s the juiciest sandwich you could ever ask for. That’s something that you can put both hands on, and that’s really all we’re looking for. I chose No. 1 Ladies’ Detective, or I’ll say it chose me, and it was an absolute blessing, for the experience of being in Africa for seven months and learning so many different things, from languages to foods to greetings. On so many levels, it was an incredible experience. And with Fringe, I wish that I could come back. It wasn’t enough for me, quite frankly, to do one episode. This is truly one of my favorite shows, so it’s something that I would definitely like to be a part of. I’m saddened that this is the last season, but I’ve purchased every season thus far, and I’ll purchase this one, too.
SCOTT: For my favorite episode, I always go back to the episode when Walter gets out of the mental institution and he’s sitting in the backseat of the car and he says that he skeeted a little. I never forgot that. I thought that that was just such free writing, and his acting was just impeccable. I liked the episodes when the guy was living inside of Olivia. There are so many. I loved the episode when Walter had a cow in his office, in the lab. I couldn’t understand that. I thought that was great. The reason that I love the show is that I never know what to expect. I never know what Walter is going to say. I love that he’s obsessed with food. I love that he’s mad and a genius. I prefer him a mad genius.
Other than Fringe, do you have another dream job, or another show that you’d love to guest star on?
SCOTT: Supernatural. I need something oozing out of me. I need to grow something else. I need to be captured. I just enjoy that stuff, so Supernatural is a good show for me. And Saturday Night Live is a show that I think I could have a lot of fun on, just being different characters and maybe singing, too.
The final season of Fringe airs on Friday nights on Fox.